Historic Hartlepool church put on at-risk register

St Mary's RC church on Durham Street on the Headland, Hartlepool.
St Mary's RC church on Durham Street on the Headland, Hartlepool.

A town church is in urgent need of repair, a heritage organisation today claimed.

The Church of St Mary, in Durham Street, has this year been added to Historic England’s At Risk Register.

The external limestone walls are displaying numerous problems, including multiple vertical fractures at the west end of the building, some pockets of deep erosion, open joints, internal powdering and inappropriate cement repairs which are failing.

Historic England report

The body argues that the Catholic church is in “poor” condition.

Designed in 1850 by the architect JA Hansom, the church’s entry into the At Risk register reads: “The external limestone walls are displaying numerous problems, including multiple vertical fractures at the west end of the building, some pockets of deep erosion, open joints, internal powdering and inappropriate cement repairs which are failing.

“The cause of the cracking requires further investigation in order to establish a phased repair programme.”

However, while St Mary’s has been added to the At Risk list, Church of the Holy Trinity, in Seaton Carew’s Church Street, has been removed after it was given grant aid from Historic England and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

A £220,000 restoration was completed earlier this year.

Church Street itself is classed as being in “very bad” condition on the list, but it is “improving”.

Councillor Kevin Cranney, chairman of the Regeneration Services Policy Committee at Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “We have recently approved plans for the development of the Innovation and Skills Quarter which offers the opportunity to redefine the Church Street area with additional daytime uses, an improved environment and a vibrant creative industries economy.

“The Innovation and Skills Quarter – which forms part of the wider Hartlepool Vision blueprint to revitalise the centre of the town – aims to drive growth and investment in the Church Street area and redevelop empty properties.

“We have submitted a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to further conserve and enhance the heritage in the area.

“We are also working closely with Historic England to bring forward improvements to the Church Street area and they are very supportive of our approach.”